Before it gets cold outside, family caregivers need to prepare their senior loved ones for the snow, ice, and other winter weather conditions. Prepping for winter can prevent injuries, illnesses, and various issues that make life more challenging for seniors. Below are some of the tips family caregivers can use to help an aging parent prepare for the winter.
Encourage Wearing Warm Clothing
When the temperatures drop during the winter months, older adults are at higher risk of hypothermia and frostbite. However, dressing in layers can help the elderly stay safe when going outdoors. Some of the clothes your loved one should wear include heavy coats, warm socks, scarves, and gloves. Your loved one should keep all body parts covered regardless of whether he or she is just stepping out to get the mail, going on a social outing, or running an errand. Preventing the skin from being exposed to the cold temperatures could reduce the risk of getting the flu, a cold, frostbite, and other serious health issues.
If your parent does get sick, it might be a good idea to enlist the help of a home care agency. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of senior care. New Hampshire Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
Shovel Sidewalks and Driveways
The odds of experiencing slips, falls, car injuries, and illnesses can increase among seniors during the winter months. Some of the major factors are icy and slippery driveways and sidewalks. Make sure the outdoor surfaces near your loved one’s home are always shoveled. You can also use preventive measures such as rock salt and warm water to melt the ice. If you’re unable to shovel the snow and salt on your loved one’s sidewalks and driveway, you can ask other family members to do the job or hire a professional.
Some seniors need occasional assistance at home, and oftentimes the family members who take care of them need time away to run errands, take a nap, go to work, or take a vacation. New Hampshire respite care experts from Home Care Assistance are available on an as-needed basis, giving your family peace of mind that your loved one will remain safe and comfortable while you relax or focus on other important responsibilities.
Prepare for a Power Outage
Many power outages occur during the winter months for different reasons, such as frozen power lines. Help your loved one prepare for any outage, no matter what the cause. Purchasing a backup generator can help your loved one stay warm if the heating system stops working. Your loved one should also stockpile warm blankets to cover up with until the system begins working properly. A power outage can cause the refrigerator to stop working, which is why seniors need to have an adequate supply of nonperishable items in kitchen cabinets and storage areas during the winter months.
Encourage Social Activity
Preparing for the winter doesn’t end with making sure to have warm accessories and healthy foods. It also includes fighting wintertime depression. It’s easy for seniors to withdraw from social activities during the colder months out of fear of getting hurt in the snow, ice, and other harsh conditions. Encourage your loved one to get out, even if it’s only for a couple of hours each week. He or she can go to a church event, meet with friends for a quick lunch, or attend a holiday social. Seniors generally have less contact with their friends and family during the winter months, which is why you need to call or visit your loved one as often as possible.
Cold weather and darker days can be difficult, especially for seniors. Fortunately, the suggestions above can help you prepare your loved one as winter arrives. Many seniors prefer aging in place over moving to an assisted living facility. If your senior loved one needs assistance to remain safe and comfortable while living at home, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading New Hampshire elder care agency. Our dedicated in-home caregivers can assist with meal prep, bathing and grooming, exercise, medication reminders, and many other important tasks. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (603) 471-3004.